Pine Street Market Opens Very, Very Softly
Eat Beat has confirmed murmurs that two of Pine Street Market’s nine upcoming eateries, have opened very softly as of April 9. Hungry locals will be able to taste-test dishes at the long-awaited downtown food hall come mid-day. The first wave of openings includes Ken Forkish’s Trifecta Annex and the Toro Bravo empire’s new rotisserie chicken project, Pollo Bravo. According to insiders, the next spot ready to throw open its doors in the days to come will likely be Common Law from chef Patrick McKee and Lang Baan’s Earl Ninsom.
Other operations will slowly come online in the coming weeks, although hours and days will fluctuate wildly as things shake out. Pine Street’s upcoming spots include Salt & Straw’s soft serve dynamo Whiz Bang Bar, an Olympia Provisions sausage bar, a roastery and coffee bar from Barista’s Billy Wilson, Marukin Ramen (get thee to the Tokyo noodle masters’ other PDX location, pronto), Toro Bravo’s other project Shalom Y’all, and one last TBA project. The Market’s official grand opening is May 1. “You know how hard it is to open one restaurant. Imagine coordinating nine,” says the market’s culinary curator Mike Thelin. “We hope people will be patient as we go from baby steps to a full Texas swagger.”
What to look for this weekend? At Trifecta Annex, bread maven Ken Forkish (Ken’s Artisan Bakery, Ken’s Artisan Pizza) is planning a short roster of his coveted breads, fresh croissants, and what he terms “New York-y” pizza. Think perfect crust dotted with mozzarella, half-orbs of tender, garlic-studded meatballs, and impossibly bright tomato sauce. At Pollo Bravo, John Gorham’s longtime collaborator and curing/fermenting whiz Josh Scofield is prepping the Bravo clan’s new rotisserie chicken, “patatas bravas-meet-jojos,” and sips of Spanish vermouth backed with soda water and anchovy-stuffed olives. Meanwhile, McKee and Ninsom are hard at work making good on their promises of French-Asian fare at Common Law, including a beef tongue banh mi and veggie sandwich slathered with house-made wasabi ricotta, served in a teeny private eating area. (Sack lunches will be sold eventually through a take out window.)
Even unfinished, the space already has a bit of the same crackling energy as Feast Portland, the local food festival that Thelin co-founded in 2012. With its ring of miniature restaurants hugging a communal eating area, the market feels like a Portland rustic-chic event space transformed into a fancified Vietnamese corner bia hoi stand: squat metal stools, sweeping strands of oversized Christmas lights, and long, wooden tables built from timbers that once served as the building’s floor joists. The 10,000-square-foot food hall, developed by Jean Pierre Veillet, David Davies and Rob Brewster and curator Thelin, spans the ground floor of the 1886 United Carriage and Baggage Transfer Building.
Already, plans for collaborations between the seasoned restaurateurs’ new projects are running rampant. Forkish is sending fresh-baked croissants across the hall to Wilson’s coffee roastery. Wilson will be supplying late night coffee and cold brew to Common Law, which, in turn, is already planning a top secret collaboration with another Pine Streeter. (One imagines that late night Olympia-Bravo ramen bowls topped with savory Whiz Bang soft serve may spontaneously emerge from the ether.)
“All of us Pine Street chefs and owners just keep saying to each other: ‘I’m bringin' it. You bringin' it? Cause I’m bringin’ it.’” says Common Law’s McKee with a laugh. “We’re all bringin' it.”
Pine Street Market
126 SW 2nd St
Open sporadically 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily
Grand opening May 1